The Divorce Process Explained (or What Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Illinois?)

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Most couples don’t take the decision to divorce lightly – and according data reported by the American Community Survey, the percentage of Chicago residents over the age of 15 years who are divorced is less than nine percent. There are many reasons for this, but there are certain requirements that couples must meet in order to have a divorce granted in the state of Illinois.

There’s a residency requirement – the couple must have lived in the state for at least 90 days prior to petitioning the court for a divorce. If a case involves children, those children must have lived within the state for six months, according to Illinois Legal Aid.

In Illinois, mental or physical cruelty, drug addiction or drunkenness are all acceptable grounds for divorce. There is one other category that a divorce in the state can fall into — irreconcilable differences—meaning that the two spouses cannot agree on things in the marriage and do not believe that the situation will improve. There are certain criteria that a request for a divorce based on irreconcilable differences must meet before a judge will grant it. They are:

Spouses have been separated for at least two years – unless the divorce is an uncontested divorce in Chicago. If both parties agree to the divorce, then the separation period is just six months.
Parties must state that they have worked to solve their problems and that the marriage cannot be saved.

Individuals who are seeking a divorce can initiate the process on their own and file papers, but when the divorce is contested, it may be beneficial to seek the services of a Chicago Divorce Attorney. Often, individuals are advised to consult an attorney regardless of whether a divorce is contested or uncontested – simply so that parties are aware of their rights and legal responsibilities during divorce proceedings.